This Article is From Dec 14, 2014

BJP Lawmaker From Chhattisgarh Attends 'Conversion' Ceremony

NDTV has accessed a video of the conversion ceremony that took place in October in Bastar

Bastar, Chhattisgarh: Yogi Adityanath is not the only BJP parliamentarian to take a keen interest in conversion of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism. In October, BJP Lok Sabha MP Dinesh Kashyap presided over a ceremony that saw 33 Christian families being converted.

A cellphone video NDTV has accessed, shows Mr Kashyap not only attending the event - organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad - in Madhota village of Chhattisgarh's Bastar district, but also performing rituals. And he is unapologetic about it.

"Yes I attended and it was not a conversion ceremony but a reconversion ceremony. Those people were lured by Christians to convert and we welcomed them back. The ceremony that I attended was not like what happened in Agra. Here people voluntarily reconverted," said Mr Kashyap.

"In face of the vociferous Opposition attack in Parliament, the BJP has distanced itself from the conversions in Agra earlier this week. We are also committed to secularism. Law and order is a state subject and the state should act," BJP parliamentarian Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had said. But Yogi Adityanath has warned about a bigger programme in Aligarh to be held on December 25.

Mr Kashyap said religious conversions are still big problem in Bastar, his constituency, where tribals are either lured or forcefully converted to other religions. To check forceful conversions in state an anti-conversion law bill was passed. The Centre is considering a stricter law to stop forceful conversion and the Chhattisgarh government has welcomed it.

"If there are more provisions added to the anti-conversion bill it is good. I feel all parties in Lok Sabha will accept this. The stricter the law the better," chief minister Raman Singh had said on Saturday.

The central government, earlier this week, tried to turn the tables on the Opposition, reiterating a long-held Sangh Parivar view of a nation-wide law to stop conversions. The BJP now has put the ball in the court of other parties to decide the future path of the anti-conversion bill.

In Raipur, BJP president Amit Shah yesterday said, "Our parliamentary affairs minister put up the issue in Parliament and have appealed to all parties to come forward and discuss how to take the anti-conversion bill forward. Now it is for political parties to decide whether they want to do something about forceful conversions or not."